Category Archives: Author Promotion

My books are now available at the Alameda County Library!

So, my books have finally made it into the Alameda County Library system. I have to admit it was a pretty cool surprise to be browsing the new arrivals at my local branch and see my own book on the shelf!

Library Book

What was even neater, though, was checking the course catalog and finding that one of my books has been checked out already!

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Not bad for a random weekday, eh? :)


Goodreads Giveaways!

From now through April 30th, I am hosting Goodreads giveaways for four of my books, On Hearing of My Mother’s Death Six Years After It Happened: A Daughter’s Memoir of Mental Illness, Just the Three of Us: An Erotic Romantic Comedy for the Commitment-ChallengedMy Life with Michael: A Novel of Sex, Beer, and Middle Age, and To All the Penises I’ve Ever Known: Erotic Shorts by Lori Schafer. You can enter to win autographed paperback copies via the widgets below:

Goodreads Book Giveaway

On Hearing of My Mother's Death Six Years After It Happened by Lori Schafer

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Goodreads Book Giveaway

Just the Three of Us by Lori Schafer

Just the Three of Us

by Lori Schafer

Giveaway ends April 30, 2017.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

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Goodreads Book Giveaway

To All the Penises I've Ever Known by Lori Schafer

To All the Penises I’ve Ever Known

by Lori Schafer

Giveaway ends April 30, 2017.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

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Goodreads Book Giveaway

My Life with Michael by Lori Schafer

My Life with Michael

by Lori Schafer

Giveaway ends April 30, 2017.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

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 Good luck – hope you win!

Castro Valley Book Fair: Meet Your Local Authors on Saturday, May 21st!

The second Castro Valley Book Fair will be held this Saturday, May 21st, from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Castro Valley Library located at 3600 Norbridge Ave. in Castro Valley, California. More than 30 local authors will be in attendance. Bay Area residents, come on down and meet your fellow literature lovers!

In addition to signing books, a number of authors (me included) will also be participating in one of the following three panel discussions in the Learning Center:

1 pm to 1:45 pm: A Many-Splendored Thing: Romance Writing in All Its Variety

2 pm to 2:45 pm: The Independent Path: Lessons in Self-Publishing from Local Authors

3 pm to 3:45 pm: Creating Your Self-Help Book with Passion and Purpose

I will be speaking in the first panel, Romance Writing in All Its Variety. I look forward to seeing you there!


Is it Autobiographical? A Guest Post by Anne Goodwin on the Reality and Fiction of Her Debut Novel Sugar and Snails

full cover (2)

Those of you saw my review of Anne Goodwin‘s debut novel Sugar and Snails will be delighted to read the following guest post from Anne on how much of her real self is contained within her novel. I find it a fascinating subject myself, as I know my own novels are strange conglomerations of true, hypothetically true, and utterly fanciful, with the reader (hopefully) never being certain which is which. I’ve been toying with this a lot in my third novel, The Other Three of Us, the first part of which comes out next week, and I’ll admit it can be a bit frightening. My story is actually told from the point of view of the author, which essentially invites the reader to assume that it’s autobiographical even when it’s not. Anne, too, has taken a brave step here in writing about a character whom many readers will assume represents Anne herself. This is the risk we take with fiction, and Sugar and Snails has done it amazingly well.

Is it autobiographical?

Apparently, most first novels are thought to be autobiographical, so I’m anticipating some fun when my readers start wondering how much of my character Diana’s life overlaps with mine. Fun because there’s an interesting secret at the heart of her identity that might make friends and acquaintances look at me in a different light.

When my husband read a proof copy a couple of months before publication, having lived with the story for the past seven years but, until then, never having read a word, he also wondered whether people would think it autobiographical. I asked whether he’d mind. After giving it some thought, he told me he wouldn’t because people would think he was Simon (Diana’s not-quite-partner) and Simon’s a decent guy.

It’s the fact that Diana’s story isn’t mine that gives me the freedom to tell it. I’ve no desire to open up the events of my own life to public scrutiny; nor do I have the capacity to write an autobiography or memoir in an engaging way. But, in writing about a character on a very different trajectory to my own, I’ve drawn deeply on my own experience. Diana isn’t me, but I’ve written her as if she could be. She’s an alternative version of me.

The best response I’ve come across to that awkward question, Is it autobiographical? (although, unfortunately, I can’t remember from where I’ve stolen it) is No, but it is personal. I’m very attached to this fictional alter ego of mine, very protective of her. Although I’m aware that, because of her anxiety about her secret, she can be irritating, I’ve found myself getting defensive when anyone criticises how she behaves. Well-intentioned (and useful) feedback from peer reviewers, especially in the early stages when I was just getting to know her, could be challenging. Why couldn’t they accept her as she was?

Most writers are personally involved in their characters at some level, but perhaps this felt particularly difficult for Diana (and me) because her journey towards self-acceptance is largely what the novel’s about. She fears that her friends (including decent-guy, Simon) will desert her if they discover who she really is. Of course, as her creator, I’m going to be sensitive to any hints of rejection.

While I don’t share the exact details of her biography, I do identify with her emotional experience, and it’s this that particularly interests me as a writer. I too have felt inadequate, ashamed of being me. I too have wished I could scrub out my old life and start again. I too have felt a yawning gap between how I see myself and how I feel I ought to be. Perhaps you’ve experienced this too?

Reflecting on this emotional connection, I wonder what people mean when they ask if a novel is autobiographical. Are they looking for a merging of author and character in terms of life events or life themes? The more I think about it, the less I comprehend what the question means. Perhaps, should anyone ask, I’ll pass the question back to them the way that therapists are prone to do, What do you think?

Reading through my novel for the final time before publication, checking for any errors that had escaped the notice of editors and proof-reader, I was surprised to come across the odd scene I’d borrowed from my own life. Not the big events, but small things, slightly tweaked to fit the story. Why should I be surprised when it was me who had put them there? As crazy as this might sound, it feels as if, having given those minor incidents to Diana, they no longer belonged to me. Hoping readers would discover connections between Diana’s life and their own, I didn’t expect that I’d discover them too.

Ever since I’ve been writing fiction seriously, I’ve been aware of the fuzzy boundary between fiction and real life. The moment someone asks me if Sugar and Snails is autobiographical, it’s going to get a lot fuzzier still.


Anne Goodwin writes fiction, short and long, and blogs about reading and writing, with a peppering of psychology. Her debut novel, Sugar and Snails, was published last month by Inspired Quill. Catch up on her website: annethology or on Twitter @Annecdotist.

Want to read more of Anne’s guest posts regarding her novel? Visit other stops on her month-long blog tour:

blog tour week 3









Sugar and Snails

Last week I finished reading Anne Goodwin‘s debut novel Sugar and Snails. While I have been a fan of Goodwin’s writing for some time, it’s difficult to anticipate whether someone who writes wonderful short stories will also have the skills required to assemble a novel. Goodwin most definitely does. I highly recommend that you give her novel a try – you will not be disappointed.


Below is the five-star review I am posting on Amazon and Goodreads:

A coming-of-age story unlike many others

I picked up Sugar and Snails without having any idea what it was about (details below under the Spoiler Alert), and I have to say that I was delightfully surprised by both the storyline and the style of writing. I loved the way the author slowly unravels the story behind the youthful Diana’s mysterious life-changing decision, picking away it, probing her memory and subconscious for details, just like the psychologist her main character portrays. It’s a classic example of form fitting function, and it drew me deeply into the story even as I was drawn more and more deeply into the depths of Diana’s mind.

The writing is smooth and expertly done, with characters who are imperfect and three-dimensionally drawn. I was reminded of the novels of Graham Greene in both the manner in which the story unfolds and the realistic characterizations of the people involved. Ostensibly this is a book about Diana’s decision, a decision that she made when she had neither the knowledge nor experience to make it, a decision that has dogged her every year of her life since she was fifteen. It takes her thirty years to comes to terms with that decision, but ultimately, you’re proud of her for how she handles it, and proud of her, too, for how she decides to move forward.


In a day in which Caitlyn Jenner is gracing the front cover of Vanity Fair, transgender issues are at the forefront of the collective consciousness. We are entering an era of great social change, an era in which we are coming to acknowledge that trans people, like homosexuals, have little choice but to be who they are. What is so powerfully moving about Diana’s story is that it harkens back to an epoch before there was any tolerance at all for gender that was not one hundred percent “man” or one hundred percent “woman”; she demonstrates with painful yet not pitiful eloquence how difficult it can be merely to exist in a world in which one must identify oneself solely with one or the other, and ultimately, how we all suffer from trying to adhere to this strict dichotomy of gender. Hers is a coming-of-age story unlike many others, yet it cries out to be told, to join the stories of other youths who have suffered crises of sexual or gender identity in a world that has often been hostile to them. Yet, it, too, offers hope, for if, in the modern era, a forty-five-year-old woman can at last find peace, if a sixty-five-year-old woman can find peace, then perhaps the young people who follow in their footsteps will never have to know the suffering that the older generation endured; peace may be theirs without their having to find it.

The 7th Annual Northwest Book Festival in Portland


Greetings from Medford, Oregon, where it’s been so hot that if I abandon my cold coffee mid-morning and leave it in the truck all day, it’s warm enough to drink again by mid-afternoon! As you might have guessed from the above banner, I’m on my way up to the 7th Annual Northwest Book Festival in Portland, and boy, am I enjoying the excuse for a road trip. I don’t think I ever sleep better than I do in the back of my truck – I think it’s like my natural habitat or something.

Anyway, if you’re in the Portland area, come on down to Pioneer Courthouse Square this Saturday between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. and say hello. I’ll be at Table 24 signing books all day – I look forward to seeing you there!

Self-Published Books Worth Reading – Here’s One of Them

A while back I nominated Geoff Le Pard’s fabulous coming-of-age comedy Dead Flies and Sherry Trifle for ReadFreely‘s “50 Self-Published Books Worth Reading” contest. I’m happy to report that the book has made the first cut, and as voting is now open, I would encourage you to check out the list and cast your vote:

And if you haven’t read it yet, do. Trust me, it is more than “worth reading.” :)

Dead Flies and Sherry Trifle

The Castro Valley Local Authors Fair is Today, Saturday, June 20th, from 1 to 4 pm!

Here is my press release regarding my appearance at the fair:

Lori Schafer, author of the award-winning memoir On Hearing of My Mother’s Death Six Years After It Happened: A Daughter’s Memoir of Mental Illness and the newly released romance Just the Three of Us: An Erotic Romantic Comedy for the Commitment-Challenged will be signing copies of her books on Saturday, June 20th at the first Local Author Fair to be held at the Castro Valley Public Library. It will be Schafer’s first public appearance after dislocating her shoulder during an ice hockey game in December.

“My memoir was released in November, and I had numerous book signings planned,” Schafer said. “But after the injury, my arm had to be immobilized in a sling for six weeks – which meant no driving, no writing, and only left-handed typing. I couldn’t even get dressed by myself.”

Schafer’s plans were further disrupted when she developed adhesive capsulitis, more commonly known as “frozen shoulder,” a condition in which calcium deposits build up in a joint during a lengthy period of immobilization, severely limiting range of motion.

“It was such a shock to me, finally getting out of that sling and discovering that my arm wouldn’t move. I couldn’t even reach the keyboard of my laptop at first. Plus being housebound for three months nearly drove me nuts.”

Schafer does physical therapy daily, but she is still looking at a lengthy recovery – perhaps six months to a year, after which she may still need surgery to correct tears in her labrum.

“I’ve got about 120 degrees in most directions, and that’s enough to allow me to do most things I need to do. The biggest improvement, though, is being able to drive again. It simply wasn’t practical for me to walk the two miles down to the grocery store and back – especially when I can’t even put on a backpack.”

Schafer was therefore thrilled to learn about the Local Author Fair in the Castro Valley Forum last month.

“I’m so excited they’re doing that. I’ve been reluctant to schedule events until I was able to get around on my own –I was very disappointed to have missed the Bay Area Book Festival – and now I want to do as many as possible just in case I have to have surgery next year. It’s likely to be a very long recovery if I do, as it’s probable that I’ll develop frozen shoulder again following the procedure.”

How will this affect the author’s plans for the future?

“The injury, the frozen shoulder, and the physical therapy have all put me way behind schedule on – well, everything! I haven’t even cleaned house in months, and I’m disappointed that I haven’t had more time for writing. But I figure if I might be looking at surgery then I ought to get around as much as I can while I can. I will be attending the 7th Annual NW Book Festival in Portland in July and am also trying to schedule more events to places where I feel comfortable travelling.”

There has been an unexpected plus side to the injury, though, Schafer asserts.

“I’ve worked a shoulder dislocation into the plot of my work-in-progress, a sequel to Just the Three of Us. It’s the culmination of a series of horrible events the protagonist endures on the heels of making a big mistake. Thanks to the personal experience, I’ve been able to detail it out in a way I never could have before – complete with screaming.”

In addition to On Hearing of My Mother’s Death Six Years After It Happened and Just the Three of Us, Schafer will also be offering for sale and signing two literary short story collections, an erotic short story collection entitled To All the Penises I’ve Ever Known, and her debut novel My Life with Michael: A Novel of Sex, Beer and Middle Age. Schafer assures readers not to worry about her damaging her injured arm.

“It is so stiff that if you try to push it to the side, my whole body moves! Trust me, this is the toughest this shoulder has ever been – I have no problem carrying boxes of books.”

The Local Author Fair will feature 39 Bay Area authors and will take place at the Castro Valley Public Library located at 3600 Norbridge Avenue in Castro Valley on Saturday, June 20th from 1 to 4 pm. Interested parties wishing to learn more about the event may also contact Chris Selig at (510) 608-1137.


In Which She Talks About Herself in the Third Person

So here it is – two firsts. My very first radio interview, which I’ve announced in my very first press release:

Award-winning memoirist Lori Schafer to appear on BlogTalkRadio show “Giving Voice to Your Story” on Thursday, June 4th

Author Lori Schafer will give her first live interview concerning her award-winning memoir On Hearing of My Mother’s Death Six Years After It Happened on “Giving Voice to Your Story” on Thursday, June 4th at 11 am EDT. Schafer, whose memoir recounts her terrifying adolescent experience of her mother’s psychosis, won a spot on Dorit Sasson’s BlogTalkRadio program through a contest on the popular writer’s blog “The Write Life” earlier this year.

“I’m excited, but also a bit nervous,” Schafer admitted. “Dorit and I only met through the contest, so we don’t know each other at all. I have no idea what she’s going to ask me. It’s like a job interview – I’ll mostly be winging it and hoping to make a good impression on listeners.”

Schafer has high hopes for the interview, however. In fact, it was Sasson’s program that inspired her to begin a BlogTalkRadio show of her own.

“I’m currently looking at a fall start date,” she affirmed. “I had hoped to begin sooner, but my schedule has been so full this year that I had to postpone it.”

Schafer is planning an eclectic program featuring readings from her own work, discussion panels on topics of interest to readers and writers, and interviews like the one Sasson will be conducting with the author.

“I’m truly appreciative of this opportunity to interview with Dorit. Radio is a very different way of interacting with an audience, and I’m really looking forward to experiencing that. But the format feels strange to me – it isn’t like writing, where you get the chance to edit and re-edit your words if they come out wrong the first or second or twentieth time. Live is live – you only get one shot at getting it right.”

Schafer’s memoir has recently been the subject of critical acclaim. It was awarded a Gold Medal in the 2015 eLit Book Awards and was a finalist in both the National Indie Excellence and International Book Awards competitions.

“It’s a fascinating book, not only because of its subject matter, but because of its non-linear narrative structure. It will be interesting to discuss from both a literary and a psychological perspective.”

Listeners can tune in to the thirty-minute program live or listen to the podcast, which will be archived after the show airs at the following link:

Listeners are also encouraged to call in with questions and comments.

“I’ve really enjoyed discussing my book with readers on social media,” Schafer says. “But it can be hard to have a real conversation in 140 characters or less!”

Schafer, who originally intended to shy away from requests for live interviews, now welcomes them.

“Reader response to my memoir has been simply amazing. People have been incredibly supportive, but what’s really moved me have been the number of folks who have come forward to share their stories with me. It’s as if they, too, have been keeping this dark family secret and are glad to have someone finally reveal it.”

Schafer’s memoir is available in paperback at retailers worldwide and in eBook exclusively on ( Interested parties may visit her website at for further information.

Dorit Sasson Interview

Unearthing Alicia Bewitched: Guest Post by Nick Iuppa

I am pleased to introduce to you today Nick Iuppa and John P. Mendoza, co-authors of the Carlos Mann series. I recently read the first book in the series, Alicia’s Ghost, and was, I’ll admit, somewhat surprised to find I enjoyed it, paranormal anything not normally being my thing. Nick has written a very interesting post on “unearthing” the history of their main character, Carlos, which, as a “pantser” rather than a “plotter” I found a quite intriguing method of character development. You’ll also find below an excerpt from Iuppa and Mendoza’s new novel Alicia Bewitched, which was just released on April 13th. I also urge you to check out Nick’s bio at the end of this post – I think you’ll find it as impressive as I did!


When John and I write books, we don’t invent stories; we discover them.

Stephen King compares writing novels to digging up a dinosaur skeleton. You have evidence that there’s something down there, but you have to keep chipping away very carefully and hope you can bring up the whole thing intact.

A lot of Alicia’s readers have asked us to tell them more about the history of Alicia’s husband, Carlos Mann. They are happy with their knowledge of Alicia and her background (after all, she explains everything to the ghost of Dr. Sigmund Freud in Alicia’s Sin), but what about Carlos?

Well, we know that he’s three-quarters Mexican and one-quarter Polish. That he’s handsome, brilliant, extremely logical, noble, and quite heroic at times. Where does all that come from, we asked ourselves? It was time to start digging.

We started looking for the spine of Carlos’s genealogy and discovered that his grandfather (Conrad Mankowski) probably came to the Americas about the time of World War Two. That meant that Conrad could have been in Poland when the Nazis invaded his country. It’s well known that thousands of Polish nationals were sent to concentration camps soon after that. And, if Conrad Mankowski was a patriot who tried to organize his countrymen against the conquerors, he might have become a special target of the SS.

That’s the heroic lineage we decided to reveal in Alicia Bewitched.

We knew how our new novel had to start. At the end of the previous book, the FBI captured Carlos’s archenemy: gorgeous, sex-obsessed, flesh-trafficker Tiger Joy, and sent her to prison in a place that became more like a luxury hotel than a place of incarceration. Carlos was so disillusioned with the prospects of her punishment that he vowed to kill the evil woman himself.  Of course, killing Tiger in the presence of all her protectors and boy-toys wasn’t easy, and, instead of being the victim, Tiger turned the tables, captured Carlos, and sent him off to be imprisoned in the cave of the great witch, La Bruja.

The witch gave Carlos a mirror, which came to life and showed him some of the key events in his grandfather’s life. Carlos saw how Conrad escaped from the Nazis and led them on a dangerous chase across Europe before managing to stow away on an ocean liner headed for Mexico. On board, a cool, clever, and beautiful Mexican aristocrat, with a crazy parrot and a ghostly grandmother, saved Conrad from would-be assassins. Then, one night when things got just a little too dangerous, Grandma’s ghost spirited Conrad away to the Yucatan where he fell in with the locals and married a shy, sweet young woman named Ixchel (sounds like seashell). Ixchel, it turned out, could trace her own ancestry back to the early days of the Mayan Empire.

As we dug up the skeleton, John and I saw most of the bones, but there was one section that was buried so deep that we just couldn’t figure it out.

When Carlos was captured, Alicia went to a curandera (good witch) and asked her to help save Carlos. The good witch refused. “What’s in it for me?” she asked. Turned out that the evil witch (La Bruja) was her sister. Since the two sisters were witches (good and bad), they’d survived for nearly a thousand years hating each other because, as girls in a great Mayan city-state, they were both in love with the same man.

Why would the witches ever want to save Carlos? (We asked ourselves.) Well, what if Carlos’s grandmother Ixchel was a direct descendant of the two witches? That would make him their descendant too… their great, great, great, great grandson. More importantly (and when we started to see this, the digging got so intense that we threw caution to the wind and started plowing through the debris with all our energy) Carlos could be a witch himself.

The witches knew it, we decided. The good witch suddenly became motivated to save Carlos. La Bruja (evil as she was) decided she wanted to kill him all the more. And, in the end, Carlos had to use Logic to escape and discover his own magic. Then and only then could he return to San Francisco, face the evil Tiger Joy, and hope to see that justice was done.

We had unearthed the skeleton of the story. There were a few more twists and turns that we came up with as we approached the very end. We think, all in all, it makes for a great tale with an amazing conclusion. See what you think.

Get a copy of our new novel, Alicia Bewitched, and read it for yourself.

Excerpt from Alicia Bewitched:

I wake up, and the first thing that comes crashing down on me is that I’ve failed… botched the entire job. I set out to rid the world of Tiger Joy, and instead she’s gotten rid of me!

I had it all planned out before hand, all the way down to the snapping of Tiger’s neck. I just never realized that Tiger could win over the guards so completely. Never realized that she would see me coming and be ready.

Amy warned me, told me exactly the kind of lifestyle Tiger had set up for herself in prison: the Executive Suite at the Chowchilla Correctional Facility. So now I’m M.I.A., probably so far out of sight that….

There’s a wicked hissing coming from a corner of whatever hole Tiger’s buried me in. Truth is, I haven’t even raised my eyes to look around.

My head pounds with the fact that I’ve failed, didn’t get the job done, and in the process got myself captured. I may never see Alicia again.


It slithers into my consciousness like some overzealous python.

My eyes jump to the far corner of the room, barely regis- tering the slimy bars of the cage that holds me. I’m looking out over the muddy floor in some kind of cave, over pools of blood and what look like the stubs of fingers hacked off and scattered everywhere in the slime.

The vision is terrible and there’s a deadly sick smell to go with it, but it’s mixed somehow with the sweetness of flowers.


In the far corner of the room there’s an archway that leads to a tunnel… a way out. But filling it completely is a churning tangle of enormous black water snakes.

I reach forward and take hold of the slimy cell bars and try to figure how long this cage has been here. Centuries? Even longer? Is this where Tiger’s decided to have me executed?

I’m not much for talking to myself, but it seems that this is the time for some kind of pow-wow. Tiger has sent me here to be punished for trying to murder her. She wants me worked over by whatever sick fuck inhabits this place. Something tells me it’s a tall, death-faced woman who looks just like Mictecacihuatl, that eight-foot monster outside my cell.

I think about Alicia and immediately realize that I have to escape, if only to be able to see her again.

Something tells me that if I die down here, I won’t see her in the next life either… not for planning a murder. That’s as big a sin as doing it. But I do have a chance, I realize. If I can stay alive, Alicia will find me and rescue me again. She’s done it before. Of course, she always takes her own sweet time about it. I know that. But it’s still well worth it when she does come through.

So, I have to stay strong, be willing to put up with a lot of nasty shit, survive no matter what until Alicia finds me.

My wife is nothing if not resourceful. And she’s got the whole damn ghost network to help her. The thought gives me new confidence. Get tough, survive, and be ready for the big getaway.

I look through the cell bars, at the tangle of water snakes, at the stoner tough guys Tiger has sent to keep an eye on me, at the terrifying statues surrounded by pools of blood. In spite of all that, I start to think, “Yes, I can handle this. I can make it.”

And then I hear humming…


You can view the trailer for the Carlos Mann trilogy here.

About Nick Iuppa:

I started out as an apprentice writer with Road Runner creator Chuck Jones and children’s author Dr. Seuss. I worked on How the Grinch Stole Christmas, and even drew some of the in-betweens for it. (In the scenes where the Grinch and Max are racing down the hill to Whoville, every other drawing is mine.) Later, I became a staff writer for the Wonderful World of Disney.

I worked my way up to VP Creative Director at Paramount Pictures where I did experimental work in interactive television and story-based simulations for the US Army. I also served as an executive at Bank of America and Apple computer. I’m the author of Management by Guilt (Fawcett Books 1984 – a Fortune Book Club selection) and eight books on interactive media published by Focal Press.

But while all that was going on, I wrote novels. And, when I was finally able to drop out of the business world, I turned my full attention to novel writing. I’ve written seven novels since then. My first solo horror novel, Bloody Bess and the Doomsday Games will be available in the end of May 2014. Meanwhile two other novels (Alicia’s Ghost and Alicia’s Sin) are currently on Amazon. The third book in the trilogy (Alicia Bewitched) will be out in the fall of 2014.

I live in the San Francisco Bay area with my wife, Ginny. My favorite thing to do when not writing is exploring the mountains of California and the rest of the world.